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Old 09-12-2013, 11:41   #1
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raspberry pi

Hello everybody,
I am thinking about using raspberry pi computer as a navigation server on my boat. Did anybody tried to run openCPN on this computer (on any linux system)?
thank you in advance for any answer,
regards,
jaromir
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:10   #2
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Re: raspberry pi

Jaromire...
It works. It's a bit slow. There are several threads in this forum talking about it.

Pavel
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:20   #3
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Re: raspberry pi

Thank you for the replay.
I am planning to sail on the Baltic Sea in next year and i think about my needs. I am lake sailor so my experience on the sea is very small. I am aware, that i will have to buy marine equipment but i think it is possible to spend less money then for buying popular chart plotter. I understand, that electronics will help, but it is not always needed and i will have to keep energy on the boat. Plots are not always needed during the vayage. So i think about something cheap but very helpfull. I was found raspberry pi computer and i think it will be enough. I did not take into account any display yet. But you say that it is slow system. Could you recommend any other which will be faster please? I have some time before the season will begin and i have also experience in programming, so to me it will be better to spend some time on making own system then spend k$s (kilodolars).
Thank you in advance for any help.
with best regards,
Jaromir
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Old 11-12-2013, 05:36   #4
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Re: raspberry pi

Look at the cubieboard2. its similiar to the raspberry pi but is much faster and capable of running ubuntu and therefore navigatrix which includes opencpn. also has sata connection to make dedicated hard drive possible instead of booting from sd card. Uses a miniscule 2amp 5 volt powersupply. I plan on purchasing several of these and setting them up as all around entertainment center and nav station for friends boats. Right now Im using a zotac zbox, Ive had problems with linux and the cedarview graphics driver. If you choose the model with the atom processor make sure it doesnt have the cedartrail chipset as on my particular box installing cedarview drivers "breaks" the system and results in black screen. That being said the linux drivers play movies and such fine on a 23" tv I use as a monitor.

Upgrade Version CUBIEBOARD2 Cubieboard A20 Dual Core Board Morethan Raspberry Pi | eBay

http://www.zotacusa.com/products/mini-pcs/zbox?p=5
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Old 11-12-2013, 07:48   #5
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Re: raspberry pi

These are just small, cheap, low powered PCs that run ARM CPUs instead of the Intel x86 CPUs so the power consumption is lower. The problem is that the software isn't compiled for ARM CPUs unless made specifically to do so.

Take a look at this device:
Industrial computer runs Linux on quad-core i.MX6*·* LinuxGizmos.com
Not as cheap but it will last much longer than a RaspberryPi - which doesn't have a sturdy enclosure for moisture, heat etc.

You would be better off running unmodified software on a laptop which you can charge the battery unless power consumption is an issue to charge.
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:11   #6
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Re: raspberry pi

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaromirj View Post
....
I am planning to sail on the Baltic Sea in next year and i think about my needs. .............
jaromir..
For your purpose it may be that my set up could be an alternative.
Buy a used 1.8-2 GHz laptop. Use it for navigational purpose only. I've two of the robust Lenovo R||T60/61 each bought for about 50 - 100 €. One in operation and the other as an instant back up. A replicator/docking station is fixed to the nav board for easy cable interface and fast PC shift in case of trouble. The power consumption though is higher then for a Rasberry Pi or eq, about 3 A when in use and 1.5 lid down.
But... I have a fully acceptable general view from the cockpit. That's not the case for all boats.

Håkan
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Old 11-12-2013, 09:24   #7
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Re: raspberry pi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackie Swart View Post
These are just small, cheap, low powered PCs that run ARM CPUs instead of the Intel x86 CPUs so the power consumption is lower. The problem is that the software isn't compiled for ARM CPUs unless made specifically to do so.

Take a look at this device:
Industrial computer runs Linux on quad-core i.MX6*·* LinuxGizmos.com
Not as cheap but it will last much longer than a RaspberryPi - which doesn't have a sturdy enclosure for moisture, heat etc.

You would be better off running unmodified software on a laptop which you can charge the battery unless power consumption is an issue to charge.
Did ya happen to read the specs on this?It also happens to run on ARM architecture. This isnt a problem, canonical and arm have been teamed up for years. Yes power consumption is an issue. The lowest power consumption I found with a laptop was around 50-70 watts, which was the lenovo line. The industrial computer you mentioned im sure costs many times what the zbox cubieboard or pi does, There are fully enclosed boxes for the cubieboard for around $11 usd.

Black White Case for Cubieboard CUBIEBOARD2 | eBay
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Old 11-12-2013, 11:42   #8
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Re: raspberry pi

I have my RaspberryPi sitting on my desk right now, and have it configured to autoboot OpenCPN on a 17" monitor.

It works just fine for sailboat and trawler speeds, especially if you spend some time tuning it. Very comparable to a low-end dedicated chartplotter (or fishfinder/chartplotter hybrid). However it has a MUCH bigger screen, and the capability to be extended to include other features (autopilot, media center, email/web browsing).

I've put a total of about $200 into my project, using some existing parts... if you were to purchase everything from scratch, I would say budget another $100. The screen is the most expensive component, but in another few months there will be a cheap 9" full-HD screen designed specifically for it available.

I don't have it in a waterproof enclosure, but plan to install it in the cabin anyway. It's all solid-state components, so really you could enclose it in just about anything so long as the heat can dissipate. I saw one guy encase his in straight silicone for a weather station.
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Old 13-12-2013, 11:35   #9
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Re: raspberry pi

Quote:
Originally Posted by forsailbyowner View Post
Did ya happen to read the specs on this?It also happens to run on ARM architecture. This isnt a problem, canonical and arm have been teamed up for years. Yes power consumption is an issue. The lowest power consumption I found with a laptop was around 50-70 watts, which was the lenovo line. The industrial computer you mentioned im sure costs many times what the zbox cubieboard or pi does, There are fully enclosed boxes for the cubieboard for around $11 usd.

Black White Case for Cubieboard CUBIEBOARD2 | eBay

more research reveals the cubieboard2 is quite a daunting task at this point. My bad, Im delving into it to give it a go. There are several distros available I will update my experiences as I go. The linux world is a fast moving place, and development of the platforms is going along at a blistering pace. Now Im looking at the cubieboard3......As for your original question I have linux ubuntu, navigatrix and opencpn on the aforementioned zotac id15 and a toshiba satellite laptop. To get everything I wanted out of the zotac I installed ubuntu and navigatrix as a dual boot system, I use navigatrix for opencpn because it does a better job of interfacing with the delorme gps unit I have and ubuntu 12.04 for watching digital media as Im still working on getting navigatrix to display movies properly, I did have opencpn working with ubuntu but gpsd was erratic on detecting the gps.
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Old 17-12-2013, 19:24   #10
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Re: raspberry pi

Quote:
Originally Posted by forsailbyowner View Post
more research reveals the cubieboard2 is quite a daunting task at this point. <snip> I use navigatrix for opencpn because it does a better job of interfacing with the delorme gps unit I have and ubuntu 12.04 for watching digital media as Im still working on getting navigatrix to display movies properly, I did have opencpn working with ubuntu but gpsd was erratic on detecting the gps.
I concur with all that's been said regading OpenCPN on a Pi.

I tried it, and the way I use a computer, it was too 'laggy' for me.

I've tried other boards, but I run into the 'display problem', i.e., the initial outlay and eventual power consumption.

I run Navigatrix two ways:
  • mini-itx and a 19 inch monitor (hard switched off when not in use)
  • Acer netbook
The netbook running Navigatrix idles at just under 9 watts with the display soft switched off. It winds up to about 15 watts in full glory.

If I factor in 75% efficiency for the DC-DC power adaptor it still stays in a 'reasonable' range...just plug it in and go...all for about $300USD.

I don't experience any 'media display' problems either. What sort of troubles were you having and were they resolved?
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Old 18-12-2013, 04:59   #11
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Re: raspberry pi

I havent tried it yet but have one ordered, I was just referring to that its still a development board and the software is still in the testing and development stage, Ive downloaded and am ready to install the lubuntu.desktop.nand.img . As with all Linux sometimes display resolution and the myriad of other possible issues usually get worked out in the linux community or already have been, It just takes a lot of time to work your way through them. It took months of searching to find out how to deal with the issues I was having with the cedarview chipset problems with display on my zbox. While I was working on it so were many others and it was finally resolved by a new driver released by intel.

Ive had display issues with navigatrix on one of my computers and not the other. Surprisingly , on one board, Im running dual operating systems and ubuntu has passed the resolution and refresh rate tests while navigatrix didnt do so well. The last I read on the Navigatrix forum support for the arm processor architecture was a work in progress. Since Navigatrix is basically lubuntu with hand picked software the display issues should be worked out before long.

As for the display problems there were multiple, I was getting multiple images overlayed and sound wouldnt work, Ive been studying alsa and the bug reports and find many people with the same issues, I havent dug to deep into that yet as the hdmi sound works but not the onboard sound via jack output. I think the display is still related to the cedarview chipset. I installed lubuntu-restricted-extras which didnt seem to help video playback. I should note the display problems were with mpa mkv avi and the like, not with opencpn.
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Old 18-12-2013, 05:18   #12
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Re: raspberry pi

I have a couple of raspberry pi's to play with. They're great little platforms, but I agree with the consensus that they're a bit light for being the central nav computer. They might be ok as the "data" computer- accepting NMEA streams and other inputs, and serving them up to a tablet or netbook running OpenCPN. (raspberry pi as a wifi access point)

This is a fast-changing area. The pi is going on 3 years old soon, and new, faster mini computers are coming up almost monthly. I think the raspberry people will themselves have something new shortly.

Currently I have Navigatrix and some charts on a 8GB SDHC card, which runs on one of my netbooks.
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Old 18-12-2013, 05:31   #13
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Re: raspberry pi

Quote:
Originally Posted by forsailbyowner View Post
<snip>
As for the display problems there were multiple, I was getting multiple images overlayed and sound wouldnt work, Ive been studying alsa and the bug reports and find many people with the same issues, I havent dug to deep into that yet as the hdmi sound works but not the onboard sound via jack output. I think the display is still related to the cedarview chipset. I installed lubuntu-restricted-extras which didnt seem to help video playback. I should note the display problems were with mpa mkv avi and the like, not with opencpn.
It's a funny old world.

I rigged up a Lubuntu 13.04 system on another mini-itx board with a cedarview chipset and had a devil of a time getting mkv and avi files to run with s/mplayer1|2...even VLC. I gave up.

It works with xbmc...go figure.

I also chased the hdmi audio and alsa around for a couple of hours before it worked...and I don't know why.

If I boot this same board with a Navigatrix USB it all works out of the box.

If/when you figure out the cause/solution let the folks at Navigatrix know.
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Old 18-12-2013, 11:49   #14
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Re: raspberry pi

For those that don't have a Raspberry Pi, or haven't tried running OpenCPN on it, this morning I pointed my webcam at the screen and recorded about 5 minutes of the system - from boot up until I started getting GPS data. I do currently use raster charts, FYI.

I tried to show the performance that I currently have on the system. Each person will have a different tolerance for speed, but hopefully from this video you can make a decision as to whether or not a Raspberry Pi performs to an acceptable level for you.

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Old 27-12-2013, 03:24   #15
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Re: raspberry pi

Great thanks for all of you,
i think i will buy cubieboard2 but not now. I read our rules and i will have to buy vhf radio. But it has to have European certificate so i think it will be my first step. I found two brands (standard horizon gx2100E and Radio Ocean RO4800) that have gps and receive ais. The price is about $300. And i will connect the output to laptop and it should be enough for the beginning. What do you think about issue like this?
With best regards,
Jaromir


P.S. If everything will be ready i will install nav server like cubieboard or something like this.
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